Monday, April 11, 2011

British Pests vs Florida Pests

British pests and Florida pests are very different beasts, yet curiously they also share some similarities, so let us see how they shape up if we put them head to head.  This will be a 3 bout contest with no biting or gouging, let the best critter win!

Foxes vs Raccoons

In Britain, if a dustbin (trash can) gets rifled, the number one suspect is usually an urban fox (unless you are unfortunate enough to live in a seaside town like Brighton, where giant seagulls fight over the pizza crusts).  The fox is a resourceful animal with a legendary reputation gained from numerous fairytales, although in reality he is just a little dog with a big tail.  In Florida, the raccoon is the chief trash can raider.  With a reputation for possessing cunning and even supernatural powers by Native Americans, he sports a stripy tail and bandit mask eye markings, which seem somehow appropriate given his thieving tendencies.

Winner: the fox.  He is more clever, cooler and sexier, and that’s why we have the term: “foxy”.  I mean nobody ever says an attractive lady is “raccoony”, do they?

Hedgehogs vs Armadillos            

These foragers would appear to be completely worlds apart on the surface, but they do have one similarity that I’ll tell you about, once I’ve introduced them.  In the UK, we have the hedgehog, the cute spiky mammal, who really wouldn’t be a pest at all, if he wasn’t a walking breeding colony of fleas and lice.  Having said that, the hedgehog does probably eat many more bugs than he carries around.  Florida, on the other hand,  has the armadillo, this fellow comes out at night when you’re asleep and f**ks up all your flower beds, digging around for grubs and making lots of messy holes in the process.  So what do they have in common?  They are both virtually suicidal when it comes to crossing the road and hence can commonly be found flattened by the side of the highway.

Winner: the armadillo.  Hedgehogs are cute but their spines are no match for the armadillo’s folds of leathery armor.

Slugs vs Cockroaches

Slugs just love the damp UK climate (somebody’s got to!).  Their favorite pastime is munching holes in people’s lettuces and leaving slimy silver trails everywhere they go.  The only way to kill them without using heavy duty chemicals is to put out saucers of beer.  The slugs drink the beer, fall into the saucer and drown.  (The same technique would probably work with some of my friends, if you could find a big enough saucer!)  Florida Cockroaches, on the other hand, prefer a diet of meat and cake, but will slum it if they need to.  They thrive in the sub-tropical Florida heat and fight a constant war of attrition with mankind, their main weapons being excessive breeding and hiding in dark corners.

The only language that
a cockroach understands!

Winner: the cockroaches.  They can beat pretty much anything with their sheer resilience.  I never used to believe what people said about them being capable of surviving a nuclear war, but the other day I discovered one that had crept into the microwave oven when I wasn’t looking.  After being blasted with microwaves for over ten minutes, the little blighter came out of there looking even more lively than ever, it was like the microwaves had actually invigorated him!  I swear that he was even doing a little dance right up to the moment that I crushed him with a paper towel.


I declare Florida pests to be the overall victors!


  1. Oh yuk! I found a scorpion in the bathtub yesterday morning, but a cockroach in the microwave :(
    You get the prize for spotting the Christmas link on this weeks SS which I am glad you enjoyed!

  2. I had no idea the hedgehog had fleas and mites - we still haven't seen one here, but dying to. I guess because they are nocturnal? We wanted one as a pet, because they are such cutie pies, but I guess not a good idea :)

  3. @Lindy I've yet to meet a scorpion. My friend got stung by one in Turkey one time after it crawled into his shoe overnight.

  4. @happyhomemaker I think hedgehogs are most prevalent in late Summer. I know they hibernate over winter.

  5. I think I will stick with the pests I know.

    I don't ever want to meet a cockroach!!!!

  6. dont forget the little lizards, (which are good at keeping the bugs away), the fire ants, which are no fun at all, and the zillion mosquitos, Florida is fun for all these guys too, Kevin

  7. @David Agnew, your pest are more likely to be feral teenager where you live, David, I bet! ;-)

  8. @ kevin. I have actually befriended a lizard here and named him "Larry". He is benign, though his colour is never constant.

  9. my pest at the moment is weevils (in EVERYTHING!) and mozzies. but you have to read this...
    I can't stop thinking about snakes now!

  10. Fire ants, mosquitoes, squirrels, raccoons, and possums--in that order! Sometimes, deer in the garden. Squirrels have fleas and mites, and they are not timid about spreading them to the porch areas around my house. I keep a can of spray by the door so we can spray our socks and shoes before we come inside. Fleas like to hitch a ride on socks, especially white ones.
    I have never seen a cockroach in this house (knock on wood), but the house I lived in with my first husband was a cockroach zoo until I put boric acid around the walls and in the cabinets.
    Robyn: weevils and mealy bugs hate bay leaves. I put a couple of leaves inside a little nylon favor drawstring bag and pop one in each kitchen canister, corners of cabinets, and a few in each closet (moths don't like them either and moth balls make me sneeze). Works great, and they are inexpensive if you buy them in the ethnic (Mexican) section in large cello bags.
    Paul, I am enjoying your posts.

  11. Was going to mention boric acid re. the cockroaches but Shirley beat me to it. Raid is useless, as are the Combat roach motels. The only thing that will do it is boric acid everywhere. (Which is not harmful to cats, thankfully. I was worried, but mine never got into the powder.)

    Boric acid is cheap and is amazing how well it works.

    What fascinates me about the foxes here is the bark. Maybe we have fox pups living in the alley...? It's a strange bark, kind of sad, and I didn't know what it was for months after moving here. Very weird to me to see such huge foxes in such a dense neighborhood. They don't seem like they'd be able to find a place to hide during the day!

  12. Q: What is an armadillo?
    A: A 'possum on the half-shell.

    Q; Why did the chicken cross the road?
    A: To show the hedgehog and the armadillo that it it could, indeed, be done.